Modular Homes vs Manufactured Homes: What's the Difference?

Learn about the key differences between modular homes and manufactured homes from an expert in the housing industry.

Modular Homes vs Manufactured Homes: What's the Difference?

As an expert in the housing industry, I am often asked about the difference between modular homes and manufactured homes. While these terms are often used interchangeably, there are actually some key distinctions between the two types of homes.


homes are built in sections or modules in a factory-controlled environment and then transported to the site where they are assembled and anchored to a base. On the other hand, manufactured homes are built in one piece and transported to the site, where they can be relocated if needed. This means that manufactured homes are considered movable property, similar to recreational vehicles. Despite these differences, both modular and manufactured homes are built using high-quality construction materials and techniques.

In fact, they can often look very similar to each other. However, there are some important distinctions when it comes to building codes and regulations. Prefab homes are built to meet National Prefab Housing Construction and Security Standards (HUD Code), while modular homes must adhere to Florida State Building Codes. This means that modular homes may qualify for the same mortgage loans and insurance rates as traditional site-built homes. However, it's important to note that mobile and prefab homes were officially distinguished from each other in 1974 with the National Mobile Home Construction and Safety Act. The location of the home can also play a role in determining its classification.

Prefab homes can be placed on a permanent base, small space, or basement depending on local regulations. Modular homes may also have specific requirements for installation, such as being placed on a permanent foundation without a steel structure. One of the main differences between prefab and modular homes is the building codes and standards that govern their construction. These can vary depending on the state, county, city, or municipality where the home will be located. For example, some states have regulations on the appearance of modular homes, including minimum requirements for roof pitch and cantilever length. Visually, prefab and modular homes may look very similar to each other and to traditional site-built homes.

However, there are some key differences in their construction and design. For instance, modular homes are inspected multiple times during the factory production phase and are 80% complete when they arrive at the site. This can help reduce delays in on-site inspections and ensure a high-quality finished product. It's also worth noting that modern prefab homes are vastly different from mobile homes built before 1976. These older mobile homes may not meet current building codes and standards, making them less desirable for many homeowners. When it comes to comparing prefabricated and modular homes, another factor to consider is the type of foundation used for each type of home. Modular homes can often be built on any residential lot that is not restricted by zoning laws. In conclusion, while modular and manufactured homes may look similar on the surface, there are some important differences to consider.

From building codes and regulations to construction techniques and design, these two types of homes have distinct characteristics that set them apart from each other. As an expert in the industry, I can confidently say that both modular and manufactured homes offer excellent quality and construction for homeowners looking for a more affordable housing option.

Marieke Scholten
Marieke Scholten

Unapologetic internet ninja. Music fan. Hardcore tv scholar. Avid bacon nerd. Avid web nerd. Extreme gamer.

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